Jessica Chastain says she picks characters she hopes will inspire young girls

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Jessica Chastain is certainly not at risk of being typecast. 

Over the past few years she’s starred in films as varied as the Ridley Scott sci-fi blockbuster The Martian, the gangster flick A Most Violent Year, Kathryn Bigelow’s tale of the hunt for Osama bin Laden Zero Dark Thirty, the Terrence Malick drama The Tree of Life and, most recently, the Guillermo del Toro fantasy horror Crimson Peak.

But her choice of roles is not merely about showing off her broad acting repertoire.

Chastain says her primary concern is ensuring she helps contribute to a greater representation of women on-screen to inspire young girls.

She told The Huffington Post her Martian co-star Aksel Hennie recently texted her to say “My daughter likes to skate and she likes to climb trees and she’s my best friend, but has a hard time in this world of storytelling when there aren’t women represented this way”.

Yet, when the 10-year-old watched Martian, Hennie told Chastain, she said “wow, she’s so tough”.

“That’s what I want in these movies,” Chastian explained. “I have to be careful when I’m choosing roles. I want to inspire people. I want little girls to watch The Martian and say ‘I want to be the commander of a mission to Mars’, ‘I want to be in this movie,’ and [to see] that actually, it’s OK, you can have these desires to be a writer and fall in love and do all this, and you can actually save yourself.”

“The more independent and free a woman is, I think those are the most inspiring stories for these little girls,” she said.

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